Crowdfunding on Campus: Part 1

When Gilbert Kipkorir, a student at Vermont’s Middlebury College, heard that a friend in his native Kenya was struggling with school fees, he knew that he had to do something. Because of his familiarity with public crowdfunding platforms, Gilbert created a GoFundMe campaign intending to raise $2,000 for his friend.

“I am very pleased with the response so far,” said Kipkorir. “It’s been really positive.”

But one thing that Gilbert has noticed is that most of his contributions are coming from a specific group: the connections he has made at Middlebury.

“I would say that more than 80 percent of the donations I’ve received are either from people who go to Middlebury or who are affiliated with Middlebury,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.”

Students like Gilbert around the country have discovered the crowdfunding model as a natural fit for the tight-knit communities that already exist on their campuses, allowing them to connect to a larger number of donors who are interested in staying engaged in the community.

Gilbert was using his on-campus connections to direct traffic to a third-party website, but what would happen if his college were to cut out the middleman and host its own crowdfunding platform?

Join me on the blog next time when I’ll take a look at some of the creative ways that colleges have been tackling this very question.

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